The Seventh of Seeking, in the Forest of Context.

The loss of your parents will teach you everything you never wanted to learn about yourself.

I’ve been edging around these anniversaries in my head, as they lie betwixt and between celebrations of life within my family too. I’m never more aware of the moments at this time of year and, last year, I thought I did really well at navigating them. In fact, better than I probably expected to.

Last year, I actively plastered my own self over, cajoling my brain towards acknowledging things but then moving swiftly along. It felt like the right thing to do at the time. Maybe it was. I’m almost tempted to do the same thing again, but it’s had a side effect that nobody likes to mention, but I know they’ve seen (because I’ve seen it too): I’ve isolated myself.

Yesterday, while I actively willed myself away from feeling things, and plastered them over with things I could do, rather than think, the gnawing need to just feel did not escape me. Instead, I think it just waited for this morning.

And what did it erupt as? Anger. That raw, ragged, covering up of emotion that’s often the best defence (second to a duck), but it’s not useful. I wanted to yell at the woman behind me in the queue, I wanted to yell at the birds, I wanted to yell at the dogs, I wanted to yell at the kettle to boil faster…I just wanted to yell.

Yelling is useful, as an instrument of expression. It is not useful as an instrument of communication.

I couldn’t yell at any of those things though, except for the kettle. Hopefully, it’ll have forgiven me by the time I get up to go and make tea.

Let’s get back to the point of this though:

The loss of your parents will teach you everything you never wanted to learn about yourself.

If seven years, and then twelve years, have taught me anything at all, it’s that I had a lot of things I needed to learn. None of them were comforting, comfortable or, in any way, a solace for loss. Worse still, I had no choice but to confront them, because there is noone left to be that buffer. My strongest supports were gone. Yes, my life has new ones — although they’ve been around a long time — and while they are unconditional, they only see the context of the time they’ve known me. They don’t know the intricacies of stories that led me here and, while I can tell them those stories, they’re only in context of today, and not set in the formative moments they originally were. It’s frustrating (for me and them), but not insurmountable. Maybe that’s a love journey, all on its own.

I do know this much, though: I didn’t expect to have more questions, seven years later. I thought I’d have figured out the answers by now. As it turns out, I was wrong. I have so many more questions, and I don’t know who to ask them to. The people who could answer them in context, and who will ask the right questions back…I don’t have them.

Instead, I have to seek out the answers myself, and it’s so bloody difficult, especially when there are so many other things I should be doing. This is so ridiculously self-indulgent. To just sit here, type, and write this. But, here goes anyway, Mom.

Here are the questions I want help on the answers for (you probably won’t understand them and that’s okay):

  1. Yes, but what’s next?
  2. Is this the right thing? If it’s not, do you promise to call me so we can fight over it, and I’ll promise that you’ll eventually win, because you are actually right? We just need to fight through it, because I need to figure this out, and I really need you to fight with.
  3. Are these things the reasons why I’m frustrated, or have I done this to myself? If the latter, what are my exit options and which one is the hardest, because we all know I’m going to take that one, so let’s just skip to that one.
  4. Why is it that I have ended up doing this, and not that? Can you trace this back for me, because I’ve forgotten which part of our history taught me this way?
  5. Tell me about that time again. You know the one. The funny, funny, one, where you pretended you hadn’t seen me, and I pretended it never happened, and we never, ever spoke of it again, until many years later. Let’s laugh at that again.
  6. I know you know that I’m finding it very difficult to tolerate the things I used to be able to smile and wave at. Is that normal, or am I just being exceedingly belligerent?
  7. This is the hardest one that I know I cannot fathom out an answer for myself. It’s the pinnacle question that only you can answer, and it’s the one that scares me the most: Is this how you felt at this moment in life too? Look, I hate to tell you this bit, but I’ve tried to find out. I ran your secret writings through Google Translate (didn’t see that coming, did you?) and now I understand a little bit more, but I need some context. I can’t quite rely on it, but I know now. Please just tell me if this is how you felt too, because it would at least be something. This is the one only YOU can answer. The rest I will, somehow, figure out alone, like I know you’d eventually make me do anyway. But this one…I’d like your story home. I need the forest of context you kept hidden for us. I know it was for us, and not from us. I know that part. Please lead me into the forest.

I miss you forever,